Forward Facing for Road Trip? — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Forward Facing for Road Trip?

Okay, so this is a controversial topic, but I've been debating on this for a few days now and wanted some third party input. DD is almost 20 months, weighs 30 pounds and is 32 inches (tall and chunky!). We're getting ready to go on a road trip to visit my family, about 400 miles or 7 hours away, one way. DD is still rear facing in Graco Milestone. The past week or so, she's been rather fussy in her carseat. I'm usually one advocating carseat safety by keeping children rear facing until at least 2 years old (I've even fussed at my MIL for using a forward facing seat in her car, and also keeping coats on her back in the winter), so the fact that I'm thinking about turning her forward facing for this trip has me in a moral dilemma. Would this be a good opportunity to turn her around so she can enjoy the trip from a different perspective and maybe not be so fussy? We're leaving tomorrow morning, so if we do decide to switch it around, it'll have to be tonight and there will be no "trial" period to see how it goes beforehand. Thoughts? TIA!!
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Re: Forward Facing for Road Trip?

  • SmrBrd2012SmrBrd2012
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    edited June 2016
    I wouldn't but I also don't have a 20 month old. My LO is 13 months and 30 inches tall though and we just went on a road trip a month ago that was a total of 860 miles or so. We just made sure we had lots of snacks, a backseat mirror, and H and I took turns occasionally sitting back there with him.

  • If you're concerned about turning, have you tried using a mirror? I know
    it is recommended to wait until 2, but we did just turn our 21 month old DD. she just threw up for her second time in the car (and once on a plane) so I suspect she has motion sickness like I did as a child and hoping it helps. She's well above average for height, and somewhat above for weight. I figured while I was taking the car seat apart to clean, I'd figure out how to install it forward facing.
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  • @whataboutscience that's my concern is that it might make her motion sick, and that's the last thing we need to discover on our long journey! We do have a mirror, and one of us will probably be sitting in the back seat with her as well if we keep her rear facing.
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  • Double check her straps and make sure they don't need to be adjusted. My son starts to get uncomfortable when he has grown and we need to move the straps up. They should be at or up to 1inch below the shoulders when rear facing. 

    I'm not sure if your family has a history of getting car sick, if not I would think she should be okay. 

    I am a child passenger safety technician. As I'm sure you know, it isn't the size of the child but the weight of their head compared to the strength in their neck and muscles. 

    If you are crossing state lines make sure you know the law for the other states. Many are changing to rear facing until 2, just something to keep in mind. Have a safe trip!
  • @laceymarie3 I just moved her straps up a couple weeks ago, could she already need them moved again? And thanks for the tip about crossing lines because we will be, so I'll definitely check that out! I know my mom couldn't do any activities (reading, etc.) in the car or she'd get car sick, and the older I'm getting, the less I can do as well.
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  • Just like you, I was going to wait until my DD turned 2 to move her forward facing. But my 15 month old is 33 inches long and no matter where we move the straps, her feet were dangling over the edge of the carseat and resting against the backseat (which can cause damage to the ankle in case of an accident). I was still going to keep her rear facing though. Then without my knowledge (and knowing how I felt about the topic), my husband installed her car seat forward facing into his mom's car. She loves being forward facing! My MIL said she giggled the whole first trip, had more room for her feet, and wasn't inclined so she could actually see out the window. I'm not happy that they didn't consult with me first and I didn't know until a week later, but we're going to be making the transition today for our cars. But I did consult with the owners manual of the carseat (all 3 are the same), our local law, and the pediatrician first. I think it just depends on each child, your comfort level, their comfort level, and the laws in your area. My daughter is just huge for her age. She's the size of a 2 year old and could easily pass as such if she was walking better. Good luck on the road trip, whatever you decide!
  • Thanks everyone for your input! We got back last night. We ended up keeping her rear facing and she did pretty well. She got cranky on the way back (to be expected), but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle. I'm glad we stuck with our decision keep her rear facing as there were a few close calls with other careless drivers. Maybe for her 2nd birthday, we'll turn her around as one of her "presents" :smile: That is, as long as she doesn't get car-sick, like I did trying to read her books. :s That is one thing that I'm a little concerned about though, since over the last 10 years or so I've been able to do less and less in the car without feeling sick, and that she may not do so well being turned around. :/
    BFP 9/11/13   EDD 5/21/14   MC 9/20/13  <3
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    BFP 2/25/14   EDD 11/5/14   BD 11/4/14
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    laceymarie3
  • sort of off topic but have you tried sea bands for yourself? I usually get really sick on planes but I bought a pair of those and they work so well. I would imagine they would work good for car sickness too. I'll never fly without them! I also wore them while I was pregnant and they helped.


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